Gender and empathy

Authored by: Robyn Bluhm

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138855441
eBook ISBN: 9781315282015
Adobe ISBN: 9781315282008

10.4324/9781315282015.ch33

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Abstract

Are there gender differences in empathy? It may seem a straightforward question, but, of course, the answer depends on how the concept of empathy is understood and measured. Moreover, the operative concept of empathy itself, and the way that data relevant to gender differences in empathy are explained, both depend on researchers’ broader background assumptions about the existence and the causes of behavior differences between women and men. In this chapter, I identify three distinct approaches to investigating gender differences in empathy. My aim is both to provide an overview of research on gender differences and to situate this research in the broader social and scientific context within which it is conducted.

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